How Dark Social is a Social Marketer’s Blind Spot

Brewster Stanislaw, Director of Product at Simply Measured, opened my eyes to the importance of dark social. This “undercover” traffic shows up as direct traffic in web analytics and masks the true impact of traffic from social media.


It would be beneficial for any business utilizing social media to take a closer look at your analytics to understand the impact of dark social. Listen to this episode with Brewster Stanislaw to hear how a cosmetics brand was able to apply more marketing budget after further analysis of dark social. This episode can help you understand dark social’s effect on your organization’s social marketing efforts.


Brewster shares one hack marketers can use to capture dark social traffic

On this episode you’ll discover:

  • That Simply Measured is a software company that provides social analytics to brands, giving marketers insight into a dozen social networks to understand how their social marketing is performing.
  • How the term dark social was coined four years ago and how it’s all of the traffic driven by social that shows up in your analytics as direct traffic.
  • How dark social is traffic that doesn’t pass a referrer, such as text, email, chat, social media sites (some private and some public).
  • How 50% of social traffic is from dark social sharing, and how 70% of social sharing is dark and done in a more private sense through messages, text, email, Slack, What’s App, etc.
  • Why Brewster recommends using a URL shortener and why you should remember a click is not equal to a visit.
  • How marketers can’t fully listen to what consumers are talking about without an understanding of dark social.
  • How dark social makes it difficult to follow conversion behaviors and the entirety of the customer journey.
  • What the user agent field is in web analytics and how it can shine some light on otherwise dark social.
  • Why Brewster says your organization should dive deeper into web analytics to get a better understanding of social traffic and why social marketers should think more intentionally about this.
  • How a cosmetics company suspected social was driving value and how they discovered by using Simply Measured’s social analytics software that 72% of direct purchases were driven by social.
  • How the cosmetics company Brewster referenced was able to find out which products were driving social sales and then had a business case to request and receive more budget to support their campaigns.
  • How micro mavens are influential among their friends and are driving sales.
  • Why Brewster says you should analyze how much direct traffic you have and if it’s high you should dig into the analytics.
  • How dark social affects various departments and how the social marketing team should demonstrate its value to their organization to serve as a connective tissue.

 “Social shouldn’t be siloed; it should be a layer that lives throughout the organization.” @BrewwsTweet: Tweet This

Featured On This Episode:

There are TWO WAYS you can listen to this podcast with Brewster Stanislaw.

You can click the Listen Now button at the top of this page… Or, you can listen from your mobile device’s podcast player through iTunes or Stitcher.

Find out more about social business strategies and trends.

P.S. Our next podcast features Glenn Gaudet, Founder and President of GaggleAMP. Subscribe to our podcast to stay current on new episodes delivered to your inbox every Friday!

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